Since 20th April, Palazzo Sturm in Bassano del Grappa has hosted the Remondini collection, the largest and most important collection of Albrecht Durer’s graphic work in the world after the one kept in the Albertina Museum in Vienna.
The 214 engravings on display include the complete series of the Apocalypse, the Large Passion, the Small Passion, the Life of the Virgin and above all the famous engraving of the Rhinoceros, created for the Emperor Maximilian as a souvenir of the exotic animal destined for the pope, but which never reached Rome as the ship carrying it was wrecked off the Ligurian coast. Chiara Casarin, the director of the Civic Museums in Bassano, has created an exhibition around this world-famous artwork which, on one hand, recalls the remarkable story of this animal and, on the other, the popularity of the engraving over the centuries. In fact, the Rhinoceros has fascinated numerous artists, from Raphael to Stubbs, and from Salvador Dalì right up to Li-Jen Shih, whose King Kong Rhino is being displayed in the Palazzo Sturm Belvedere in Bassano for the entire duration of the Dürer exhibition.
Dürer’s extremely precious engravings are displayed over two floors in Palazzo Sturm: the fourth, which includes 5 rooms with frescoed ceilings and the fifth that features a large open space with a wooden-beamed ceiling that is normally used for temporary exhibitions. The exhibition lighting design had to take a series of limits into account, including the fact that the venue’s systems could not be altered. As the two rooms had an artificial lighting system based on the use of standard lamps, the architect Alessandro Pedron designed a layout for the exhibition that included the construction of a showcase with a built-in lighting system. This showcase includes an arm fitted with a Laser Blade XS luminaire for indirectly lighting the environment, and an Underscore 15 for directly lighting the ceilings.
The illumination level required for the fragility of the materials and the extreme delicacy of the engravings on display is 50 lux, so a decision was made to use a presence sensor to activate the lighting. And if there are no visitors, the Laser Blade lighting stays off. The indirect lighting, on the other hand, always operates, but is dimmed to 60%.
The presence sensor is installed under the showcase and activated when a visitor approaches the first showcase in the obligatory exhibition route. The sensor lights up the showcases in the room for a duration of two minutes. When the visitor leaves the room, the lighting stays on for another two minutes and then switches off. In the open space on the fifth floor, the times are slightly longer. There are two sensors and the second lasts for 3 minutes because there is more space and therefore visitors need more time.
The showcase is designed to be an independent element and includes a Laser Blade and Underscore luminaire as well as a Bluetooth interface and a built-in beacon that can transmit various information. Every showcase can therefore be dimmed and operated independently via a smartphone app with an “on” and “off” scenario.
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